Gateway closes out season on up note with nonsection win
The Gateway varsity boys soccer team fell short of its goal of making the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs, but the Gators players concluded the 2012 campaign Saturday with a 1-0 nonsection victory over North Hills.
“It was nice to end the season on an upbeat and positive note,” Gateway head coach Chris Duda said.
“It keeps the morale up going into the offseason. I am really looking forward to working with the guys in the offseason.”
Sophomore midfielder Jared Jenkins provided the game-winner against North Hills, as he scored in the second half. It was his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Gateway made a modest record improvement from 2011, both in Section 3-AAA and overall.
The Gators ended the 2012 campaign 6-11-1 overall, up from 4-13-1 last year.
Gateway's 4-8 mark in section play this season was better than a 2-9-1 record from 2011.
The Gators remained in the hunt for a WPIAL playoff spot until the final week of the section schedule.
Pittsburgh Central Catholic (11-1) won the section championship, followed by Fox Chapel (9-2-1) and Plum (6-3-3).
Gateway finished one point ahead of Allderdice (3-7-2) in the standings, and a spirited 5-1 win over the Dragons down the stretch in section play was the difference.
“The guys improved a lot this year, and they want to take that next step,” Duda said.
The game was the final one in a Gateway varsity uniform for seniors Brian Carey, Doucet Creamer, Nathan Kleya, Ray Scalise and Kenny Stevens.
“We're losing five really good players, and we have some younger players anxious to move up into those roles, both on the field and in leadership,” Duda said.
“They want to work hard in the offseason so they can get where they need to be to fill those shoes.”
In addition to Jenkins' six goals, Carey (3), junior Matt Reynolds (2) and sophomore Sam Seroky (2) scored multiple goals this season.
Also tallying a goal this year were Creamer, Scalise, Stevens, junior Gaurav Pandey, sophomore Christopher Conti and freshman Dan Snyder.
Seroky had a team-best four assists, while Snyder assisted on two goals.
Stevens, Pandy, Conti and Jenkins also assisted on goals this season.
The Gateway defense and Kleya combined to forge five shutouts.
Duda said his first year as head coach was a fun one with a lot of support from the players.
“It was a new experience for me coaching a AAA team, but the guys made me feel welcome and comfortable,” Duda said.
“They worked hard for me every day. They made me better as a coach. It makes it fun to be able to grow with them and help them reach their goals.”
Duda said he began his new job in March with a clean slate and nothing would come over from the 2011 season, including who got the most playing time and where everyone was on the field.
“I told them there was no favoritism right from the start,” Duda said. “I wanted them to show me what they could do. They did just that. We worked through any miscommunication, and it made for a productive season.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.